Our VP of Technical Center Americas, Ilyas Ayub, wrote an article for Mission Critical Magazine (July/August 2019) that reviews different backup power options for data storage and server applications.
Just as we need backup power for our sump pump systems to ensure our basements do not flood during a power outage, data servers need backup power to ensure they do not lose data during any loss of power. From generators to battery packs for an entire data center to individual server backup batteries, there are many ways that servers handle backup. This article will focus on backup solutions that are within the server itself to ensure data is not lost during an outage.
Different options for backup power
The main goal of the backup solution is to ensure there is enough energy available to continue running the system until all of the data that is in volatile memory can be transferred into permanent memory.
There are several solutions that are available to provide backup power for servers and we will discuss three different ones and then look at the performance characteristics of each option as it relates to a data storage application.
- Option 1 - Supercapacitors: Recent advancements in flash memory have allowed the use of supercapacitors to act as a backup power source. The write time to flash memory is much faster than hard drives, which allows low energy options with high current capability to act as a backup option. That is where supercapacitors come into play. Supercapacitors have very high capacitance that can create a huge amount of discharge current. Supercapacitors are being used in data servers where the uptime requirement is very small (seconds) but still needs a high amount of power.
- Option 2 - Lead-acid batteries: Pb-acid batteries have been the cornerstone technology for backup applications for many years. They offer a very cost-effective unit price over other technologies and offer good performance. Many uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs) are still built with lead-acid batteries and are used to backup data farms, servers, and computer systems.
- Option 3 - Lithium-ion batteries: Li-ion batteries are becoming more popular as a backup solution for many servers especially for applications that require a significant amount of energy and power to back up the system.
Learn more about Inventus Power's experience and capabilities in the design and manufacture of Li-ion backup batteries for data storage & server applications.